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The social and cultural
roots of nostalgia
Peter Achterberg
www.peterachterberg.nl
Modern-day nostalgia
Some industrial nostalgia
Anton Zijderveld – King of institutional
sociology
Modernization
Functional differentiation and substantial generalization
The maladies of modernity
And what do you do then?
How often do you long for a
society in which
% vaak / altijd
Things are less complicated 33,0
Things are less hectic 40,7
People live in harmony with
each other
62,1
People live in harmony with
nature
47,4
People take each others
feelings into consideration
62,5
It is easyier to become happy 39,5
Maladies and nostalgia…
6.4
6.6
6.8
7
7.2
7.4
7.6
7.8
Non anomic medium Anomic
Nostalgia
6.6
6.7
6.8
6.9
7
7.1
7.2
7.3
7.4
Little alienation medium Alienated
Nostalgia
Post-Christelijk onbehagen?
• Detraditionalisation / secularization…
• …Is a blessing: Freedom, prosperity, progress
(Featherstone, 1995: 217-8; all work done by Ronald Inglehart)
• …Is a tragedy: Moral void (Sztompka, 2002), social conflict (Etzioni, 2001)
• However: It all depends (as always)!
• De Koster et al. (2011): Higher and Lower educated differ in their reactions
Testing educational conflicts…
Nostalgia
explained
B (s.e.)
Constant 7,39*** (,24)
Education -,19*** (,05)
Religious embeddedness -,27 (,18)
EDX RELEMB ,15* (,07)
Income -,12*** (,04)
Age ,01*** (,00)
Female ,14** (,06)
R2 ,10
N 1.755
Bron: Achterberg &
Houtman, 2013: N=1.380
The future of the past…
Electorates and nostalgia
• Achterberg & Peper (2019)
In short
• Nostalgia –
• Who does not want that?
• Modernity induced problems
• Anomia and alienation
• Educational conflicts in
detraditionalized contexts
• The future of the cultural past

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The social and cultural roots of nostalgia